Yep, without further ado, it's that time! As we do every year, we are very happy to bring you a year-long cycling fantasy game of the highest order. Two, actually: a men's game and a women's game. Totally free of charge. All brought to you by the Podium Cafe, our in house staff of policy people and game designer extraordinaire, and our sponsor, FullSpeedAhead, best known as FSA. Let's hear from them first...
Let's Play! FSA is excited to sponsor the Virtual Director Sportif fantasy season on Podium Cafe. As makers of world class bicycle components for many Pro Tour teams, club riders and people who just like to ride their bikes, we are fans of the sport too. This season ought to be a lot of fun.
Best of luck!
FSA USA staff
FSA are located in Italy, Taiwan and the Seattle area. You might know them as the makers of Peter Sagan's wheels, or if you don't you will soon. Actually, Cannondale are just one of a long list of teams being sponsored by FSA this year. That should tell you what level they operate on. In an unrelated development, several of their Seattle employees crushed my team last year. Look for them in the game this year.
OK, the game. There are two rules I have to tell you about before you get started. The primary one is, you have to be a registered member of the Podium Cafe to play. We are a very lurker-friendly site, but we need to have names attached to the game to make sure it's fair. Registering is free, fast, and requires minimal information.
Secondly, there is one team per person, per competition. You can do a men's team and a women's team. Or just one. Or the other. You just can't do two or more in a single competition.
OK, if you're familiar with the game, just go on over to the FSA Directeur Sportif site. If you want the skinny first, read on.
What Is It?
The FSA Directeur Sportif is our yearlong cycling game reminiscent of fantasy sports, without the creepy name. You assemble riders onto your team, then follow them throughout the season as they accumulate points for your team. If you're like majorly wicked lucky good at picking your team and you finish on the podium at season's end, you're in line for some awesome prizes, supplied by FSA. And if you don't technically win, you'll still have a great time and probably learn a lot about the riders you picked... or ditched at the last second, just before they embarked on their historic campaign.
How does the game work?
You have a budget of points to spend in assembling your roster. In doing so you don't have to spend all 150 points but you must fill the entire roster. Once you assemble your team, the work is over. There is no in-season swapping, no setting your lineup every day. Cycling isn't baseball. You can make a men's team, a women's team, or one of each. What you can't do is make more than one M or W team; one submission per person per competition!
The rules for each are a little different:
Men's Game: You have 150 points to spend on a roster of 25 riders. You don't have to spend all 150 points but you must have exactly 25 riders. Riders cost anywhere from 1 to 34 points. You can't have more than one rider who costs 24 points or above. You are also limited to three riders TOTAL who cost 18 points or above. [The latter includes your one 24+ guy, if you have one.] Check the rider list here.
Women's Game: You have 150 points to spend on a roster of 15 riders. You don't have to spend all 150 points but you must have exactly 15 riders. Riders cost anywhere from 1 to 82 points (guess who?). To make things trickier you are not allowed to spend more than 100 points on riders that cost 20 points or more. Check the rider list here. Please note that the website of the women's game is not yet fully operational. The rider and race lists are correct but the rules function isn't set correctly yet. Points are scored in a list of races we have designated at the Podium Cafe Race Calendar [M and W].
Oh! And a feature we added last year was the private league: a way to create a list within your login of the teams you want to compete against privately, which will generate standings of your own group of teams. Don't worry about how til you've submitted your team, but be thinking about who you want to do battle with! Making a private league is on top of your continued existence in the mega-league.
How many points? Which riders can I hire? Any other wrinkles?
Go read the rules [M and W]! There aren't very many, but if you don't follow them, the submission will be rejected. Nobody likes rejection. Also, we do rather strenuously enforce the one team per person rule. Please, keep it fair!
What does it cost?
No money. No portion of your soul. No strings attached. No, I'm not joking.
So I don't have to do anything before getting started?
Well, no, you do have to become a registered member of the Podium Cafe before you can start. If you're not one already, that is. Look in the upper right corner for signup info. It's free, simple, and requires very, very little information.
OK, I did that. What next?
Head on over to the FSA Directeur Sportif Website, login in the upper right corner using your exact same user ID from the Podium Cafe login, and get started! If you played in the past year or two, your existing login and password have been saved for you to use again this year. Just sign in and you're good to go. If you are new to the game, sign up first and a new password will be sent to you.
I'm Indecisive. Should I wait?
Nope. Get started picking your team now. As you are hiring riders your picks are automatically saved to your account, no further action needed. You can log in to the VDS site whenever you want to tinker with your team, hiring and firing riders endlessly, until deadline day... as long as you do not submit your team! Once you hit "SUBMIT", you can't make changes without groveling to an administrator first.
I'm a procrastinator. Is this a problem?
Not yet, but if your team isn't completely filled out, meeting all the requirements, and submitted by Deadline Day, February 22, 2013, then you're out of the competition until 2014.
Use the comments below. Tell your friends! Taunt/sandbag them into your own mini-competitions! Stay tuned for in-season mini-comps, like the Classics or the Grand Tours! Ready... set... GO!